Franklin & Marshall College

Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Tell Franklin & Marshall College to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Franklin & Marshall College has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • College Life Manual: Student Life Policies- The Student Code

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 2, 2018

    Prohibited acts include:

    1. Conduct which is unbecoming of a Franklin & Marshall student. Examples include, but are not limited to, lewd or indecent behavior (or sponsorship thereof); physical or verbal abuse or assault; threats; intimidation; harassment; coercion; and other conduct that threatens, instills fear, or infringes upon the rights, dignity, and integrity of any person.

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  • College Life Manual: Student Life Policies- The Student Code

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: March 2, 2018

    Actions disruptive to the orderly processes of the College include, but are not limited to: … the display of offensive banners/objects….

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  • College Life Manual: Sexual Misconduct/Discrimination/Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 2, 2018

    Sexual harassment is gender-based verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or that creates a humiliating, degrading, intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, educational, or living environment.Sexually offensive language and activities in the College’s public spaces constitute harassment where such conduct is sufficiently serious to create a hostile environment.

    Examples of sexual harassment may include: (1) “Catcalling,” e.g., making public, gendered and/or sexual remarks about a person within others’ hearing with or without the intended recipient’s consent. Students are responsible for public conduct that may offend or intimidate bystanders; (2) Publicly ranking a person’s sexual or physical attributes without their consent. These behaviors attempt to reduce the value of the person being rated to a one-dimensional stereotype that is antithetical to an atmosphere of inclusiveness. This behavior is inherently disrespectful to all those of the gender being ranked regardless of the response of any single victim; and (3) Intruding in private spaces such as shower stalls and locker rooms.

    Other types of harassment include comments, questioning, innuendos or jokes of a sexual nature. Derogatory comments referencing gender or sex, unwelcome sexual advances, propositions, threats, requests or demands for sexual favors all constitute sexual harassment. Displaying, posting, advertising or distributing offensive, indecent or abusive material of a sexual nature; leering or making obscene gestures; constitutes sexual harassment.

    Respect for all members of the campus community is expected at F&M. Although sexually offensive depictions may also be seen as sexual harassment, the College does not consider visual and/or aural demonstrations, depictions or conduct to be sexual harassment when there is a legitimate pedagogical context, such as material having an appropriate connection to course subject matter.

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  • Public Demonstrations and Protests Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: March 2, 2018

    Any individual or group seeking to protest at an event must register their request with the College at least 48 hours (or 72 hours if the event is to occur on a holiday or during a weekend) in advance of the event. One or more representatives for the individuals participating in the proposed demonstration must contact the Office of the Dean of the College. Individuals or groups wishing to protest will be advised of these College protocols surrounding peaceful protest and orderly demonstrations. Individuals or groups will also be advised of any additional rules and protocols that may apply to a specific event. The College expressly reserves the right to designate the specific areas in which such activities are conducted.

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Green Light Policies
  • Acceptable Use Policy and User Agreement

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: March 2, 2018

    Any inappropriate email, as defined below, is prohibited. Users receiving such email should immediately contact the ITS Help Desk at 717-358-6789 or In the case of serious risks or harm, users should contact the Office of Public Safety at 717-358-3939. Examples of the inappropriate use of electronic messaging include:

    • The creation and exchange of messages which are harassing, obscene, or threatening;
    • The unauthorized exchange of sensitive or confidential data;
    • The creation and exchange of advertisements, solicitations, or chain letters.
    • The knowing transmission of a message containing a computer virus or a message which is intended to trick or mislead the recipient into performing an action;
    • The misrepresentation of the identity of the sender of a message; and
    • The use or attempt to use the accounts of others without their permission.

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  • College Life Manual: Student Rights, Freedoms, and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 2, 2018

    Franklin & Marshall College is a scholarly community whose aim is to create an environment for human learning. Toward this end, students and faculty working together in close relationship pursue not only knowledge but also wisdom. In their mutual devotion to intellectual discovery, each stimulates the other. The prerequisite for the continuing success of this endeavor is academic freedom—the freedom to teach and learn. As full members of the College community, therefore, students, like faculty, are encouraged to develop their capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.

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  • F&M Statement on Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 30, 2018

    Because Franklin & Marshall College is committed to the ideal of free and open inquiry in all matters, it extends to all members of the College community the broadest possible latitude to express themselves freely and to challenge the views of others.  The College vigorously values the creation and maintenance of a climate in which all members of the College community are welcomed and are encouraged to participate in the free expression of ideas.  Inasmuch as the spark of truth often comes forth only after the clash of differing opinions, we view freedom of expression as highly valuable because it encourages multiple opinions, allows them to coalesce and/or clash, and opens them to the community’s reflections.

    Indeed, fostering the capacity of the College community to engage in critical discourse and deliberation in an effective, responsible and respectful manner is an essential part of the College’s educational mission.  Of course, the ideas of different members of the College community will often and quite naturally conflict.  But it is not the proper role of the College to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, uncivil or even deeply offensive.  Rather, members of the College community should be encouraged to act according to the principle that the best response to ideas that they find offensive is speech, not censorship. This approach encourages members of the College community to express their views freely, and freely to take issue with views with which they disagree.

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  • Area Colleges Draw All-Stars for Commencement

    May 1, 2016

    By Susan Snyder and Jonathan Lai at College commencement season will bring a rock-star cast of speakers to the region’s colleges and universities – including the president of the United States… Read more here.

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  • Franklin & Marshall professor: Free-speech-friendly campuses start with education on speech codes and speech code reform

    June 16, 2017

    In a piece published in USA Today last Sunday, Franklin & Marshall College professor M. Alison Kibler argues that, as questions of free speech continue to arise on college campuses, students, faculty, and administrators must evaluate and revise college policies that regulate speech to meet First Amendment standards. FIRE agrees that working to eliminate restrictive speech codes and enacting speech-protective policies forms the foundation of a campus environment that protects students’ expressive rights. That’s why we stand ready to help students and administrators alike with the process. In the piece, titled “Want to solve this ‘free speech’ debate on college […]

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  • Leadership roundup: How college leaders are answering questions about free speech

    April 25, 2017

    Controversy around free speech on college campuses seems to only be escalating: Charles Murray’s disastrous visit to Middlebury College, the violent response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to the University of California, Berkeley, the shutting down of Heather Mac Donald’s Claremont McKenna College event, and just last week, Berkeley’s attempt to shut down Ann Coulter’s visit to the birthplace of the free speech movement, which has already prompted a lawsuit. After a free speech controversy engulfs a college community, campus leaders are often left with questions from students, faculty, alumni, and the press about where the school stands on the issues. […]

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  • Franklin & Marshall students set example handling controversial speaker

    March 14, 2017

    Earlier this month, while all eyes were on Charles Murray’s disastrous visit to Middlebury College, you may have missed another speaker protested for his talk on a college campus. The protest this speaker encountered, however, led to a very different outcome. Flemming Rose sparked worldwide controversy when he commissioned and published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2005 as culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Rose spoke at Franklin & Marshall College March 2, the same day Murray went to Middlebury. Rose came to the college after being invited by Matthew Hoffman, chair of Judaic studies at F&M, and though […]

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  • Franklin & Marshall Board of Trustees Approves Freedom of Expression Statement

    February 16, 2017

    This Valentine’s Day, while couples reaffirmed their commitment to one another, Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) reaffirmed its commitment to free speech. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania college announced that its board of trustees had approved a “Statement on Freedom of Expression,” initially endorsed by F&M faculty last year. The statement is a modified version of the exemplary Chicago Statement, which FIRE has endorsed as the gold standard for free speech policy statements in higher education. As some of our readers may remember, the college’s faculty body first adopted a version of the statement at a meeting last February. However, the […]

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  • College Trustees Reject Free Speech Statement Approved by Franklin & Marshall Faculty

    May 30, 2016

    The good news is that the faculty adopted a version of the University of Chicago’s exemplary statement on campus free expression last semester. F&M becomes the 13th institution at which a faculty body or the administration itself has endorsed a version of the Chicago Statement since FIRE endorsed it in January of 2015 as the gold standard for campus commitments to free speech. The bad news is that F&M’s board of trustees says the college itself will not commit to such a strong statement in favor of free speech, citing “legal” concerns and expressing worry over the “delicate balance” involving “uninhibited […]

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  • Unjust Sexual Misconduct Policy at Franklin & Marshall College

    May 16, 2011

    We have been writing a lot lately about due process in campus sexual assault cases ever since the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance last month instructing universities that, in order to comply with federal civil rights laws, university judiciaries must apply a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (roughly 51% proof) when resolving cases of sexual misconduct on campus. As Erica wrote on The Torch last month, making a point discussed in more detail in FIRE’s May 5th response to OCR: The preponderance of the evidence standard, which would allow universities to punish students for offenses […]

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